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Long Branch Oceanfront Town Home Proposal On Hold Per Judge's Order

LONG BRANCH: TDB's proposal to build 11 townhouse-style units along Ocean Avenue has hit a snag.

Superior Court Judge Lawrence Lawson ordered that Long Branch Planning Board no longer has jurisdiction over the site plan for the proposal because of an improper decision rendered by the city's zoning board of adjustment on the rezoning of the lots where the project would be located.

Nearby properties Promenade Beach Club and the Seaview Park Condominium Association filed suit against the Long Branch Zoning Board of Adjustment in 2013 stating that it does not have the authority to change the zoning of sites within the city's redevelopment zones, and that the planning board cannot grant site plan approval for a use not permitted in the zones.

The ZBA allowed two lots to be merged into one to create for the landlocked lot, Lot 7, which was initially designated as a beachfront recreational zone, to be merged with the second lot, Lot 4, to create a residential lot.

Lawson's called the ZBA's decision was "contrary to law and fact" and the actions were "arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable" and that the decision must be reversed. He determined that the lot cannot be zoned residential and the lot merger cannot occur.

Lawson stated that the council must adopt an amendment to its redevelopment plan for the lot to be zoned for residential use and that it must remain beachfront recreational in the meantime

Because the land is located in the Beachfront North redevelopment zone, the Long Branch Council had to accept TDB as the developer for the project last year before the proposal could be heard by planning board.

It is not clear if the city will appeal Lawson's decision.

The matter was last heard by the planning board on July 15 and was scheduled to resume in the fall.


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